Infiniti (インフィニティ Infiniti?, IPA: [inɸinʲiti]) is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Nissan. Infiniti officially started selling vehicles on November 8, 1989 in North America. The marketing network for Infiniti-branded vehicles now includes over 230 dealers in over 15 countries.
The Infiniti marque was formally introduced to its homeland of Japan in 2013, with the first Japanese-market Infiniti vehicle to be a hybrid-powered variant of the Infiniti Q50 to go on sale in 2014, with gasoline-powered versions of the Q50 retaining the historic Nissan Skyline name. However, this does not mark the first introduction of the Infiniti brand to Japan, with the original Q45 being sold as the Nissan Infiniti Q45 in Japan from November 1989 until 1996.
Infiniti models have direct equivalents in the Japanese domestic market Nissan lineup. The Infiniti G as the Nissan Skyline sedan and coupe and previously the Nissan Primera, Infiniti M as the Nissan Fuga and previously the Nissan Leopard, Infiniti EX as the Nissan Skyline crossover, and Infiniti Q45 as the Nissan Cima. The Infiniti FX has no Nissan equivalent and is not sold in Japan. The Skyline and Cima were luxury vehicles in Japan in earlier forms, and were originally exclusive to Japanese Nissan dealership network called Nissan Prince Shop, then later called Nissan Red Stage until the Japanese dealership network was disbanded.
In 2012, Infiniti moved its global headquarters from the Nissan corporate building in Yokohama and incorporated in Hong Kong as Infiniti Global Limited, with Carlos Ghosn intending for Infiniti to have a greater focus on the burgeoning luxury market in mainland China as it forecast the country to become the largest luxury car market. Johan de Nysschen was appointed to head the Infiniti division in 2012. De Nysschen left the company as of August 2014 to become CEO of Cadillac. Infiniti Chairman Andy Palmer assumed de Nysschen’s responsibilities. Nissan appointed Roland Krüger as president of Infiniti after the chairman of the marque, Andy Palmer, resigned to join Aston Martin in September 2014.
In mid-2013 Infiniti announced their Q30 Concept car would get its world premiere at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, a move which will see Infiniti start an aggressive strategy to extend the Infiniti brand into new premium segments. In 2013, Infiniti’s model designation will change to the coupes and sedans starting with the letter Q (SUVs and crossovers will start with the letters QX) and a number reflecting the model’s place in the brand lineup. For instance, the M sedan will become the Q70 while the G sedan will be replaced with the Q50; meanwhile, the QX56 will become the QX80 while the EX will become the QX50.
With its QX60 crossover (formerly known as JX35) Infiniti began to produce vehicle outside Japan. In 2014, it is expected to start producing two models in Xiangyang, China, a plant operated by Nissan’s joint venture with Dongfeng Motor. It is also expanding in Sunderland, England, to produce a new compact car named Q30 in 2015.
Infiniti was a minor sponsor for the ‘ Where Are We Going, Dad? ‘, or ‘爸爸去哪儿’ in Chinese (Pinyin: babaqunali), a popular Chinese television series, in 2013. It was also a major sponsor for the second season of ‘ Where Are We Going, Dad? ‘ in 2014.
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